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Rob Bowman

Adding "not" in Hebrews 6:1

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Robert,

You wrote:

Your first question is right on point, though you did not adequately deal with it: Joseph and Sidney spent a lot of time dealing with the KJV text, and the unfinished result has been termed "New Translation," "Inspired Version," and "Inspired Revision," but it is not at all clear that the whole of it is all of the same character. Some revelatory (visionary) parts of it are part of the official Mormon Canon (Book of Moses). Other parts do look very much like midrashic commentary -- and Joseph and Sidney certainly did not need to know what "midrash" is to do it. That is merely a descriptive term which scholars (and pretend scholars) use. Anyhow, most of what they did is not canonical.

What is needed here is some indication from Joseph Smith himself that he thought he was doing something fundamentally different when he was tinkering with verses like Hebrews 6:1 from what he was doing when he was adding large portions of material to Genesis. It is only in hindsight that LDS "scholars (and pretend scholars)" have discovered that some of Joseph's revisions to the Bible were not inspired revelations but midrashic or (as you say next) scribal emendations. It is an interesting coincidence that the uninspired bits so often happen to be the bits that display Joseph's lack of understanding of the Bible.

You wrote:

Indeed, I see a tight comparison to be made with a similar type of activity by pious Jewish scribes -- tiqqune soferim (link). On occasion, while copying a pre-Massoretic Text onto a scroll, they would find a term or phrase which they regarded as inappropriate or blasphemous. Through a simple "correction" they could eliminate that problem much as Joseph & Sidney might have done by making Noah rather than God "repent."

The irony here is delicious. Mormons commonly complain that we cannot rely fully on the Bible because the scribes who copied it made changes to it, resulting in numerous variations in the biblical manuscripts. Now you are comparing Joseph Smith's revision of the Bible (or at least the embarrassing parts of it) to some of the work of the scribes who caused the trouble that Mormons historically thought Joseph was trying to correct!

Regarding Joseph Smith's revision of Genesis 6:6, you wrote:

The shift in English meaning does in fact take care of some theological misunderstandings.

It does so only in the sense that it removes what Joseph Smith viewed as an offending statement from the Bible and replaces it with another statement that has no substantive connection with the original statement or the context in which it appears. That is, the revision "It repented Noah that God made man" does nothing to clarify Genesis 6:6; it simply removes what Genesis 6:6 says and replaces it with a completely different statement that superficially resembles the original statement because it uses the same words. Remember the old saw, "Dog bites man" is not news, but "Man bites dog" is news? The two statements use the same words but they don't have any relationship in terms of their meaning. "Dog bites man" would not be a clarification of "man bites dog"; it would be an entirely different statement.

Now back to Joseph's revision of Genesis 6:6 KJV. The statement "It repented Noah that God made man" (Gen. 8:13 JST) makes no sense at all. Noah can't "repent" of something about which he had no involvement or role. The word "repent" and related forms appear over a hundred times in the KJV, and I don't think it ever allows such a usage. To repent in the KJV means to change one's mind, attitude, or decision about one's own actions or intentions--what one has done or was planning to do. Furthermore, in Genesis there is a clear and logical (even if theologically troubling for some) connection between Genesis 6:6, 8 and 6:7. Because the Lord was sorry that he had made man (6:6 KJV), he decided to wipe out mankind (6:7), "for it repenteth me that I have made them" (6:8 ). In the JST this connection is muddied. Now the text says that Noah was sorry that the Lord had made man (8:13 JST) and so the Lord announced that he would wipe out mankind, "for it repenteth Noah that I have created them" (8:14-15). In Joseph's zeal to make Genesis more theologically palatable, he actually made the text less clear.

At least the sopherim's proposed scribal emendations made sense!

Now, what about your claim that in a verse like Genesis 6:6, Joseph was merely making a scribal emendation to clarify the text, as distinguished from the truly revelatory (and thus inspired) additions he made to the Bible as seen in the Book of Moses? Perhaps you missed it, but Genesis 8:13-15 JST (the revision of Genesis 6:6-8 KJV) is identical to Book of Moses 8:25-26! So Joseph's revision to Genesis 6 is part of the LDS canon, and is presented as revelation, not mere scribal emendation.

Furthermore, throughout Genesis 6 JST/Moses 8 we find revisions and expansions of the KJV Genesis text, including significant expansions in the immediate context of the verses under discussion here. Joseph has Noah giving an explicitly Christian sermon ("Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost...") in the verse immediately preceding the verse in which Joseph "fixes" the offending statement in Genesis 6:6 KJV. It stretches all credulity to claim that Moses 8:24 is an inspired revelation while Moses 8:25-26 is a mere scribal emendation.

You wrote:

Bowman even gave the likeliest rational reason for the insertion of "not" in Hebrews 6:1, but then went on to "equivocate" by adding other motives or silly conceits to Joseph on that one matter.

What Joseph claimed to do is one thing; the rationale that he gave for it is something else. Joseph claimed to be revising the Bible as an inspired prophet with the gift of translation, not as a scribe. In saying that Joseph thought he was inspired to make his changes, I was acknowledging the traditional LDS belief in the matter. How ironic, that I am being criticized for saying that Joseph claimed to be inspired in that work!

You wrote:

In fact the notion that he was doing the very thing the more learned commentators had been doing is very compelling, and that in both cases because KJ English was long since out of date and imprecise.

Joseph's changes to Genesis 6:6 and Hebrews 6:1 did nothing to update or clarify the KJV wording. In both cases Joseph retained the KJV words and either rearranged them (in Genesis 6:6) or negated them by adding "not" (in Hebrews 6:1). This is most decidedly not what learned commentators do.

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I think the entire question here is totally confused, and most of the responses seem to be replies which assume the correctness of the original confused premise.

The confused premise is that there is somewhere a "text" which can be known as the "original" which could be "translated" correctly or incorrectly. "What Paul said" is gone forever, if it ever existed. Many of the epistles are of disputed authorship, for example.

The correct premise, in my opinion, is that God inspires men to write things which are later canonized by some body of believers into what we call "scripture".

That is were the Bible came from; the reality is that we have no idea who wrote what for most of the books of the Bible, if not all the books.

Latter day revelation has the same "problem" if we choose to see it as a problem, regarding sources for the Book of Mormon, Abraham, etc etc etc.

We canonize the "Standard Works" but not the Journal of Discourses. Lectures on Faith were canon once, now they are not. Certain policies are regarded as "doctrinal" until they are changed.

THAT is the reality of the situation.

The only way we can know anything is scripture is by the Spirit, period.

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BCSpace,

You wrote:

Your argument here can't be made until you have the original manuscript to compare with.

No, that isn't so. In this case, we have Joseph's own explanation for his change to Hebrews 6:1 that shows that his change was based on a misunderstanding of the English text of the KJV. If the word "not" had been in Hebrews 6:1 in the original text, the statement would have made no sense in context, because "not leaving the principles" would have meant not moving beyond the elementary principles to more advanced matters. Yet it is clear that Hebrews 6:1 means precisely that he wants his readers to move beyond the elementary principles and proceed on to more advanced topics. This proves that the word "not" could not have been in the original text of Hebrews 6:1 and that Joseph simply misunderstood the KJV translation.

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Mr. Bukowski,

You wrote:

I think the entire question here is totally confused, and most of the responses seem to be replies which assume the correctness of the original confused premise.

The confused premise is that there is somewhere a "text" which can be known as the "original" which could be "translated" correctly or incorrectly.

Joseph Smith seems to have held to this same "confused premise," and it is canonized in Articles of Faith 8.

You wrote:

"What Paul said" is gone forever, if it ever existed.

By this reasoning, the author of 2 Peter was mistaken when he referred to what Paul had written (2 Peter 3:16), because what Paul had said was "gone forever, if it ever existed." Likewise, Jesus was mistaken in appealing to things that David, Isaiah, or other OT writers had written or said (e.g., Matt. 13:14; 22:43, 45).

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Joseph Smith seems to have held to this same "confused premise," and it is canonized in Articles of Faith 8.

Bowman is STILL STUCK on that very narrow definition of "translate".

By this reasoning, the author of 2 Peter was mistaken when he referred to what Paul had written (2 Peter 3:16), because what Paul had said was "gone forever, if it ever existed."

Just HOW does Bowman know which of Paul's works Peter was referring to? How does Bowman know that said writings of Paul (or copies thereof) ARE still in existence?

Likewise, Jesus was mistaken in appealing to things that David, Isaiah, or other OT writers had written or said (e.g., Matt. 13:14; 22:43, 45).

So HOW does Jesus quoting what was available AT THE TIME require such records to be 100% accurate?

Does Bowman still subscribe to that false and unsupportable doctrine of inerrancy?

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we have Joseph's own explanation for his change to Hebrews 6:1 that shows that his change was based on a misunderstanding of the English text of the KJV.

If so, and no one is denying that he did (although the misunderstanding is not due to ignorance—but to the ambiguity of the sentence structure), he was far from alone in this misunderstanding. And, we can even suppose that he did not misunderstand, but that he knew others did, so emending the text as he did served to reduce confusion among readers of the passage.

A good translation does not create such ambiguity. The AV translators made a mistake that many people, not just Joseph (assuming he did), misunderstood. This being the case, Joseph translation of the passage was more in keeping with the meaning Apollos had in mind when he wrote [quote name=

Heb 6:1]1 Διὸ ἀφέντες τὸν τῆς ἀρχῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ λόγον ἐπὶ τὴν τελειότητα φερώμεθα, μὴ πάλιν θεμέλιον καταβαλλόμενοι μετανοίας ἀπὸ νεκρῶν ἔργων, καὶ πίστεως ἐπὶ Θεόν,

1 Wherefore, having left the word of the beginning of the Christ, unto the perfection we may advance, not again a foundation laying of reformation from dead works, and of faith on God, (Young's Literal Translation)

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Joseph Smith seems to have held to this same "confused premise," and it is canonized in Articles of Faith 8.

Obviously you are wrong since he freely re-interpreted the Bible, as is pointed out in this thread, and it was not a "translation" in any sense at all, and clearly he knew that!!

It is not like he had some text in a foreign language in front of him when he was "re-translating" the Bible. CLEARLY he was using the word in a different context. CLEARLY.

By this reasoning, the author of 2 Peter was mistaken when he referred to what Paul had written (2 Peter 3:16), because what Paul had said was "gone forever, if it ever existed." Likewise, Jesus was mistaken in appealing to things that David, Isaiah, or other OT writers had written or said (e.g., Matt. 13:14; 22:43, 45).

That is precisely correct, and you are incapable of even IMAGINING that possibility for 5 minutes so you can understand the point. Incredible. How many times have we been over this and you cannot even SEE it??

The entire point is that the books of the Bible COULD HAVE BEEN selected and/or re-written FOR THEIR FALSE CONSISTENCY!

There is no way to know this except by inspiration.

The only way the "truth" of any scripture can be known is by the spirit. Period.

But of course you will never acknowledge that because to do so would demonstrate the validity of the methodology of Moroni 10:4+, and you will never do that, no matter how foolish it makes you appear.

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So HOW does Jesus quoting what was available AT THE TIME require such records to be 100% accurate?

The point being here that there is no way to know that Jesus ever even "actually" said that, much less what he was quoting if he quoted it was correctly quoted from the original author who may or may not have been inspired in the first place.

You get into this stuff of scriptural translation and it is an infinite regress, and just plain unknowable.

It is either inspired or not and that is only known by the Spirit.

And yes, that leads to uncertainty about all this. Oh well, grow up! (Not you Vance- you get it!)

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Now back to Joseph's revision of Genesis 6:6 KJV. The statement "It repented Noah that God made man" (Gen. 8:13 JST) makes no sense at all. Noah can't "repent" of something about which he had no involvement or role. The word "repent" and related forms appear over a hundred times in the KJV, and I don't think it ever allows such a usage. To repent in the KJV means to change one's mind, attitude, or decision about one's own actions or intentions--what one has done or was planning to do. Furthermore, in Genesis there is a clear and logical (even if theologically troubling for some) connection between Genesis 6:6, 8 and 6:7. Because the Lord was sorry that he had made man (6:6 KJV), he decided to wipe out mankind (6:7), "for it repenteth me that I have made them" (6:8 ). In the JST this connection is muddied. Now the text says that Noah was sorry that the Lord had made man (8:13 JST) and so the Lord announced that he would wipe out mankind, "for it repenteth Noah that I have created them" (8:14-15). In Joseph's zeal to make Genesis more theologically palatable, he actually made the text less clear.

The word repent as used in the earlier parts of the OT especially, in some contexts simply means to change one’s mind, as in the following:

Exodus 13
:

17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt

Psalms 110
:

4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

In other contexts it simply means to be grieved, either because of something that you yourself have done, or because of something that somebody else might have done, as in this example:

Judges 21
:

6 And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.

15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

In the above verses, not all the Children of Israel would have consented to the near extermination of the tribe of Benjamin; but all of them were grieved and sorry that it might happen. In the case of Noah “repenting” that God had made man, it simply means that it had grieved him, or made him sorry that God had made man, as the context makes clear:

Moses 8
:

25 And it repented Noah, and his heart was pained that the Lord had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at the heart.

26 And the Lord said: I will destroy man whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Noah that I have created them, and that I have made them; and he hath called upon me; for they have sought his life.

It is a legitimate use of the word repent in that context. It does not mean that Noah “repented for God,” which is what you are implying.

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Hello Rob,

Hope that helps.

--DB

IT does, bravo.

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Lehi,

You wrote:

If so, and no one is denying that he did (although the misunderstanding is not due to ignorance—but to the ambiguity of the sentence structure), he was far from alone in this misunderstanding. And, we can even suppose that he did not misunderstand, but that he knew others did, so emending the text as he did served to reduce confusion among readers of the passage.

A good translation does not create such ambiguity.

With all due respect, you are ignoring what your Prophet himself said. He did not claim that the problem with Hebrews 6:1 KJV was an "ambiguity." He said it was a "contradiction."

You wrote:

But the English of the AV is not clear as it stands. Joseph's addition of "not" make the intent of the author plainer.

Of course it does not. Had Joseph changed "leaving" to "moving beyond" or "progressing beyond" or something like that, you could claim he was making the intent of the author plainer. Joseph's addition of "not" merely changes the meaning of the text.

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Your argument here can't be made until you have the original manuscript to compare with.
No, that isn't so. In this case, we have Joseph's own explanation for his change to Hebrews 6:1 that shows that his change was based on a misunderstanding of the English text of the KJV.

The problem with that is you based your disagreement with JS's rationale by refering to nonoriginal manuscripts when you said:

However, manuscript discoveries since Joseph Smith have not lent any support to the supposition that the text actually said “not leaving” rather than “leaving.”

Therefore, as I said, that your argument can't be made until you have the original manuscript to compare with, is true.

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It occurs to me also that Paul himself could have made a "typo". I make typos myself all the time. I personally doubt God told Joseph how the error came about but that his commentary to that effect reflects speculation on his part. Nevertheless, whatever the source of the error (be it typo, scribal error, choice of language which is ambiguous), the fact remains the JST English version identifies correct principles which are in accord with Paul's intent. It is this latter result that commends Joseph Smith as a true prophet. The commentary on the source of the "mistranslation" pales in comparison.

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David,

You wrote:

Most serious Latter-day Saint scholars recognize the fact that Joseph was not restoring the original autographs for the biblical texts he revised.

And all serious non-LDS scholars, like me, recognize the fact that Joseph was not doing so. The problem is that the evidence shows that he was claiming to restore the original meaning of the text in English translation (not restoring the autographs themselves, of course, since he did not produce any Hebrew or Greek texts for the Bible).

You wrote:

Instead, the JST represents an inspired revision of the KJ version of the Bible.

Revision, yes; inspired, no.

You wrote:

In terms of Hebrews 6:1, note the commentary from Joseph Smith that you provided:

“I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators… committed many errors.”

Hmm, you seem to have left some words out.

You wrote:

Joseph’s addition of the word “not” to Hebrews 6:1 falls into the category of a poorly worded translation.

I assume you mean that the KJV was poorly worded, not that Joseph's revision was poorly worded.

You wrote:

The very Christian commentary you cited proves that without the addition of the word “not,” the statement was often misinterpreted to mean that one should leave behind the principles of the doctrine of Christ.

No. The commentaries do not endorse the addition of "not." What they say is that "leaving" is correct but must be correctly interpreted. Adding "not" does nothing to correctly interpret "leaving."

You wrote:

“In order to their growth, Christians must leave the principles of the doctrine of Christ.... " (Commentary on the Whole Bible, at Heb. 6:1).

“Now, he bids them to leave these rudiments...” (Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, at Heb. 6:1).

Contrary to these assertions, Joseph is absolutely correct that the original text does not covey the notion that Christians should “leave the principles of Christ.”

No, what the commentaries say is absolutely correct. Christians should "leave" those principles in the sense that Hebrews 6:1 indicates: they should "leave" them behind pedagogically and move on to the more advanced lessons. Both commentaries make this clear; your omissions (...) from the quotations obscures this fact.

You wrote:

Note the translation of the Greek text provided by William L. Lane in his Word Biblical Commentary for Hebrews 1-8:

“So then, let us leave standing the elementary Christian teaching…”

Now, if only Joseph Smith had offered a similarly helpful translation of Hebrews 6:1. But alas for those who regard him as a prophet with the gift of translation, he did not.

You wrote:

Concerning the original meaning of the text, Lane provides the following commentary:

“When the writer urges his readers to ‘leave standing’ the elementary Christians teachings, he is not [note the word] dismissing it but regarding it as so well established that the urgent need is for a fuller appreciation and application of that teaching” pg. 139 (emphasis added).

The "not" in Lane's statement is a negation of "dismissing," not a negation of the word that Hebrews 6:1 actually uses.

You wrote:

Hence, by adding the word “not” to the text, Joseph improves the KJ English translation of Hebrews 6:1 in a way that perfectly reflects the contemporary scholarly assessment of the text. Given the very commentary you cited, this was clearly an inspired correction on the part of the Prophet.

Not at all.

You wrote:

Hope that helps.

Not in the slightest, I'm afraid.

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Rob still has not responded to Bokovoy

I know he will ignore me anyway- he always does, but I would like to see the response to Bokovoy.

Edit: I apologize. My computer is allergic to the new site and I was unable to edit this out fast enough after Rob's response to Bokovoy.

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Mr. Bukowski,

You wrote:

Obviously you are wrong since he freely re-interpreted the Bible, as is pointed out in this thread, and it was not a "translation" in any sense at all, and clearly he knew that!!

Again, you are flatly contradicting your Prophet. He referred to the work he was doing in his revision of the Bible as a "translation" (e.g., HC 1:131, 170, 219).

Oops. In your zeal to defend your Prophet, you are contradicting him!

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Rob still has not responded to Bokovoy

I know he will ignore me anyway- he always does, but I would like to see the response to Bokovoy.

Well, when he does, it will just be a version of "Nuh uh".

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Mr. Bukowski,

You wrote:

Rob still has not responded to Bokovoy

I know he will ignore me anyway- he always does, but I would like to see the response to Bokovoy.

I just responded to you (twice!) and to David Bokovoy -- before even seeing the above post.

You keep claiming that I always ignore you, even though I have probably posted a couple of dozen times in response to you personally, perhaps more like fifty times. It is ridiculous for you to keep making this same false accusation. I consider your repeated accusation harassment. Please stop it.

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Mr. Bukowski,

You wrote:

Again, you are flatly contradicting your Prophet. He referred to the work he was doing in his revision of the Bible as a "translation" (e.g., HC 1:131, 170, 219).

Oops. In your zeal to defend your Prophet, you are contradicting him!

WOW!!

So when someone uses the very narrow definition of "translate" IN THE SAME MANNER YOU DO, you then attack him with Joseph's much broader definition of the word.

In your zeal to attack a Latter-Day Saint, you are contradicting yourself. :P

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Mr. Bukowski,

You wrote:

I just responded to you (twice!) and to David Bokovoy -- before even seeing the above post.

You keep claiming that I always ignore you, even though I have probably posted a couple of dozen times in response to you personally, perhaps more like fifty times. It is ridiculous for you to keep making this same false accusation. I consider your repeated accusation harassment. Please stop it.

Please see my earlier apology about the Bokovoy reply- my computer lags on this site, and I am not sure why.

This claim is absurd, and you still have not responded to the bulk of my post concerning the veracity of the Bible. You persist in thinking that your silly non-substantive replies about the ambiguity of the word "translate" have some meaning.

If you like, I can show you quotes from each thread in which you have told me that you were going to "ignore" me

In fact you have never once replied to my same assertion which I now have made on several threads that the only way one can know the Bible is "true" is by inspiration, and I have repeatedly show your arguments of the historical accuracy of the Bible, using the Bible itself as historical evidence, to be circular.

It is crystal clear that you are deliberately avoiding this issue- you absolutely refuse to engage on it, and I have called you on it now several times.

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The theory of the OP also supposes that the original authors never made a mistake in writing, or it supposes the transcribers never made a mistake in transcribing, the OP also seems to suppose that an "editor" will never miss something.

Just read various post on these boards and one will notice that words are omitted from sentences or words are spelt incorrectly. So it is very likely, that someone writing forgot a word, yes it is very likely, forgetting a word does not make for nefarious intent.

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Again, you are flatly contradicting your Prophet. He referred to the work he was doing in his revision of the Bible as a "translation" (e.g., HC 1:131, 170, 219).

Oops. In your zeal to defend your Prophet, you are contradicting him!

Joseph Smith seems to have held to this same "confused premise," and it is canonized in Articles of Faith 8.

You re-confirm my point.

This is the second time you have made the same argument in just a few posts without answering me.

How long do you think you can just keep that up and retain any shred of even your own self-perceived credibility?

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Mr. Bukowski,

You wrote:

This claim is absurd, and you still have not responded to the bulk of my post concerning the veracity of the Bible.

I am unclear as to what claim you think is absurd.

You wrote:

You persist in thinking that your silly non-substantive replies about the ambiguity of the word "translate" have some meaning.

Huh?

You claimed that Joseph knew that what he was doing was not a translation "in any sense of the word." But Joseph repeatedly called it a "translation." Whose reply here is silly and non-substantive?

You wrote:

If you like, I can show you quotes from each thread in which you have told me that you were going to "ignore" me

No need. I haven't actually blocked your posts, but I have ignored those posts in which you repeated statements I had already answered multiple times. But you're pushing me to block your posts as I do Vance's.

You wrote:

In fact you have never once replied to my same assertion which I now have made on several threads that the only way one can know the Bible is "true" is by inspiration, and I have repeatedly show your arguments of the historical accuracy of the Bible, using the Bible itself as historical evidence, to be circular.

It is crystal clear that you are deliberately avoiding this issue- you absolutely refuse to engage on it, and I have called you on it now several times.

Actually, I have answered this more than once. You simply don't accept my answer.

Using the Bible as one uses any documents, treating them critically as possible historical sources without assuming that they are necessarily accurate in everything they say, is not circular reasoning. If you don't understand this, you don't know anything about historiography.

Now, I have answered your objection -- again -- and if you persist in claiming that I am avoiding the issue or failing to respond to it, I will report you for harassment.

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Using the Bible as one uses any documents, treating them critically as possible historical sources without assuming that they are necessarily accurate in everything they say, is not circular reasoning. If you don't understand this, you don't know anything about historiography.

Now, I have answered your objection -- again -- and if you persist in claiming that I am avoiding the issue or failing to respond to it, I will report you for harassment.

Ignore me or report me as you like, I couldn't care less. It is clear you are avoiding the central issue.

If that is the only way you can answer, the record will show the truth.

If the Bible is not "necessarily accurate in everything it says", as you just admitted, your case is lost.

Game over anyway you look at it.

Joseph made needed doctrinal revisions as guided by the Spirit.

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How can one know if something is/is not inspired by God unless God Himself tells you?

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